Mayor says school transfer law, upheld today, needs to change

The Missouri Supreme Court today upheld the student transfer law, which could force the unaccredited Kansas City school district to pay tuition and transportation for students to go to other districts.

According to the Kansas City Star, the ruling puts pressure on legislators and policy makers to either fix or eliminate the law.

In St. Louis, the law has already strained two unaccredited districts as 2,500 students are moving to neighboring districts at their expense.

Steve Green, Kansas City Public Schools superintendent, said in September that a similar transfer in Kansas City could cost the district $150 million of its $238 million budget.

Mayor James reacted to the ruling this afternoon, urging the Missouri General Assembly to alter the existing transfer law early in the 2014 legislative session.

He says the experience in St. Louis shows there are flaws in the student transfer statute because it requires families to work harder to find quality schools. Instead, he said in a statement, “we need a system where quality schools are guaranteed in each neighborhood so that no student needs to transfer into a better situation.”

“Families don’t have to choose between living in Kansas City and sending their children to excellent schools. The two are not mutually exclusive evidenced by the fact that 15 different school districts exist within our city limits and each district has their own high-performing schools,” the mayor says. “Every student deserves a quality school in their neighborhood. I urge the General Assembly to address this transfer issue holistically as soon as session convenes.”

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